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A Report to the Board of Supervisors 

REDEVELOPMENT IN DIAMOND HEIGHTS 



A description of existing conditions of 
arrested development and a recommendation 
for the designation of Redevelopment Area B 
by the Board of Supervisors. 



March 1950 



Prepared by the Redevelopment Agency in consultation 
with the Department of City Planning 

100 Larkin Street 
San Francisco 2, California 



697390 



City and County of San Francisco 
Elmer E. Robinson, Mayor 

REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 



Morgan A. Gunst, Chairman 
Thor 3. Gravem, Vice Chairman Lawrence Palacios 
J. Joseph Hayes James E. Stratten 



Staff 

James E. Lash, Director 

Fay N. Cupples, Secretary 

William H. Ludlow, Principal Redevelopment Planner 

Larz T. Anderson, Urban Redevelopment Planner 

Marie Carlberg, Research Clerk-Stenographer 



in consultation with 

DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING 

Ernest J. Torregano, President 
Harold T. Lopez Oliver M. Rousseau 

Mrs. Eugene M. Prince William D. Kilduff 

Ex Officio Members 
Thomas A. Brooks, James H. Turner, 

Chief Administrative Officer Manager of Utilities 

Paul Oppermann, Director 

Staff Committee on Redevelopment 

George S. Duggar, Chairman 
Francis Violich 
Sydney H. Williams 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 
100 LARKIN STREET SAN FRANCISCO 2, CALIFORNIA 



The Honorable Board of Supervisors 

of the City and County of San Francisco 

Gentlemen: 

This report entitled "REDEVELOPMENT IN DIAMOND HEIGHTS" is 
submitted to you for your consideration. It has been prepared 
by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, in consultation with 
the San Francisco Department of City Planning, in accordance 
with Section 33 of the Community Redevelopment Act of California, 
which states (in part) "The (redevelopment) agency or the Plan- 
ning Commission may request the legislative body of the commun- 
ity to designate one or more areas within the community as a 
redevelopment area or areas." 

In August 19^8 the Board of Supervisors officially desig- 
nated the Western Addition as Redevelopment Area A. In the re- 
port, submitted herewith, the Redevelopment Agency recommends 
and requests the designation of Redevelopment Area B by the 
Board of Supervisors in accordance with the provisions of the 
Community Redevelopment Act. 

Area B comprises a chain of three barren hills just south- 
east of Twin Peaks, together with Glen Canyon along the western 
edge of the area. Portola Drive and Clipper Street Extension 
form the northern boundary and provide ready access to downtown 
San Francisco and to the Mission District. Diamond Street, 
south from Clipper, climbs the eastern slopes of the hills, and, 
when extended, will lead into the central portion of the area. 
Because Diamond Street is one of the principal arteries serving 
Area B, it is proposed that the area be called "Diamond Heights." 

Most of the Diamond Heights area is still open land. Re- 
development of such an area is new to San Francisco's redevelop- 
ment program. However, the use of redevelopment powers in 
certain types of vacant areas is authorized in Section 2 of the 
Community Redevelopment Act. In particular, subsection 2(b) 
declares an area to be blighted when there exists an economic 
dislocation or difuse as a result of faulty planning, lots laid 
out in disregard of the contours, or inadequate streets and 
utilities. Section 2 further states: 

"That such conditions of blight are chiefly found in 
areas which have been subdivided into small parcels, 
that in most instances the lands are held in divided 
and widely scattered ownerships, frequently under de- 
fective titles, that in many such instances the private 
assembly of the lands in blighted areas for purposes of 



redevelopment is so difficult and costly that it is 
uneconomic and as a practical matter Impossible for 
individual owners independently or collectively to 
undertake to remedy such conditions because of lack 
of the legal power necessary for, and the excessive 
costs involved in, the private acquisition of the 
real property of the area; that the remedying of such 
conditions may require the public acquisition at fair 
prices of adequate areas, the clearance of the areas 
through demolition of existing obsolete, inadequate, 
unsafe and unsanitary buildings and the redevelopment 
of the areas suffering from such conditions under 
proper supervision, with appropriate planning, and 
continuing land use and construction policies." 

With a platted street pattern entirely unsuited to the 
steep grades, a great diversity of ownership and a lack of 
building development in spite of nearly a century of real estate 
activity, the Diamond Heights area clearly qualifies under these 
provisions as coming within the scope of the powers granted to 
a Redevelopment Agency by the Community Redevelopment Act. 

Since nearly all of San Francisco's land available for 
building is already in use, the few remaining vacant areas should 
promptly be brought into such condition that new homes may be 
built, the housing shortage eased and the redevelopment in 
built-up areas suffering from blight, deterioration and obso- 
lescence facilitated. In those vacant areas which qualify under 
the Act and where private enterprise alone cannot effectively 
operate, the City should make use of its redevelopment powers 
in order to make private building possible. 

The significance of designating the area as a 'redevelop- 
ment area' is: 

1. The legislative body finds that Area B in general is 
a blighted area whose redevelopment is necessary to effectuate 
the public purposes declared in the Community Redevelopment Act. 

2. The legislative body acknowledges the report of the 
Redevelopment Agency and instructs the Department of City 
Planning and the Agency to study further how the area should 
be redeveloped. 

After the area has been designated a redevelopment area, 
it will be the responsibility of the Department of City Plan- 
ning to prepare preliminary plans for the redevelopment of one 
or more project areas within the redevelopment area. Such 
preliminary plans will be submitted to the Redevelopment 
Agency, which will then prepare tentative redevelopment plans. 
After public hearings, these plans will be submitted to the 
Board of Supervisors for approval. 



II 



The Board of Supervisors must approve both these tenta- 
tive redevelopment plans and the final redevelopment plans 
before the Redevelopment Agency may buy any land. Designat- 
ing an area as a redevelopment area requests that further 
studies be made, but does net permit the Redevelopment Agency 
to purchase any property. 

Respectfully submitted, 

The Redevelopment Agency of the City 
and County of San Francisco 





Morgan A. Gunst 
Chairman 



III 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 
Letter of Transmittal I 

Table of Contents IV 

List of Illustrations and Tables V 

Aerial View of the Diamond Heights Area VI 

Summary of Findings VII 

Principal Recommendation VIII 

Preliminary Site Plan IX 

I Existing Conditions 1 

Land F©rms 

Existing Land Uses 

Grades of Platted Streets 

Land Ownership 

Taxpaying and Non-taxpaying property 

II Early Development and Arrested Growth 8 

Early Subdivisions 

Factors Retarding Development 

III The Redevelopment Process 11 

Legal Designation of Area B as Blighted 

Boundaries of Area B 

Project Plans 

Financial Considerations 



IV The Contribution of Redevelopment in 

Diamond Height* to San Francisco 17 

Parks for City-wide Use 
New Homes 
Streets 
Schools 
Shopping 

Planning and Redevelopment 

Relation of Redevelopment in Diamond Heights 
and in the Jefferson Square Neighborhood 



An Approach to Site Planning 21 



IV 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS AND TABLES 

Plate No. Title following page 

Photo Aerial View of the Diamond Heights V 
Area 

1 Site Plan (preliminary study) IX 

2 Location 1 

3 Improved Properties 3 
k Street Grades 4 

5 Principal Land Owners 6 

6 Public Lands and Improved Streets 7 



Table No. Title page 

1 Summary of Land Uses 3 

2 Distribution of Land Ownership 6 




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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS 



In proposing the Diamond Heights area, lying between the 
southwest portion of the Mission District and 'Shaughnessy 
Boulevard*, as a redevelopment area, the Redevelopment Agency 
finds that: 

1. The Diamond Heights area conforms to the definition 

of a blighted area as stated in the Community Redevel- 
opment Act. 

2. Redevelopment in Diamond Heights by combined public 
and private Initiative will effectuate the purposes 
of the Community Redevelopment Act. Private enter- 
prise alone cannot effectively accomplish land 
assembly and redevelopment in an area of such scat- 
tered ownership. 

3. All properties included in the proposed redevelop- 
ment area will be necessary for, or may be affected 
by, the redevelopment of the entire area. 

4. Redevelopment in Diamond Heights would bring into 
use some 332 acres of land that are now undeveloped 
(see Plate 3), largely because of steep grades, in- 
appropriately platted streets (see Plate 4), and 
diverse ownership of the land. (See Plate 5). 

5. Large parts of the area were originally subdivided 
as early as 1863 and 1864. Since that time, most of 
the remainder of the area has been subdivided, many 
portions have been resubdivided and parcels of land 
have changed hands countless times. However, after 
many years of real estate activity, less than ten 
per cent of the area has been used for building. 
Since private enterprise alone has been unable to 
bring the area into use, redevelopment under joint 
public-private initiative is needed. 

6. Redevelopment would offer the opportunity to keep 
Glen Canyon, which lies along the southwesterly edge 
of the area, as an open space for general citywide 
recreation use, including the Day Camp proposed by 
the Recreation Department. 

* The proposed boundaries of the redevelopment area are as 
follows: on the north, Clipper Street Extension and Portola 
Drive; on the west, 'Shaughnessy Boulevard; along the south- 
ern boundary, Bosworth, Elk, Sussex, Castro and Laidley streets; 
along the eastern boundary, Laidley, Thirtieth, Castro, Valley, 
Diamond, Twenty-eighth and Douglass streets. (See Plate 3). 
Within the area so bounded, one or more project areas will be 
selected for detailed study and for the proposed redevelopment 
operations. Very few, if any, of the existing buildings in the 
area would be disturbed. 

VII 



7. Redevelopment would provide room for 2500 to 3000 
new homes In one of San Francisco's potentially 
most attractive areas. These homes, including pos- 
sibly detached house, row houses and flats and 
apartments of various types, would be built by 
San Francisco builders, large and small. Some of 
the homes would be sold, and others rented, to 
families of middle, and possibly other, income 
groups. 

8. The new housing provided by redevelopment in 
Diamond Heights would ease the San Francisco hous- 
ing shortage, making possible more rapid redevelop- 
ment of built up areas of blight. 

9. Redevelopment would give some of the present land 
owners an opportunity to bring their land into use 
by direct participation in the overall redevelopment 
plan. 

10. Redevelopment would key new neighborhoods into San 
Francisco's official Master Plan. Along with the 
new homes would be new schools, playgrounds and 
small shopping centers. These new neighborhoods 
would be developed using the most modern standards 
for new city design, to combine natural beauty with 
contemporary comfort. 

PRINCIPAL RECOMMENDATION 

The Redevelopment Agency, in view of the material presented 
in this report, recommends and requests that the Board of Super- 
visors declare Area B, as described herein, a redevelopment area, 
in accordance with the Community Redevelopment Act of California. 



VIII 



PRELIMINARY SITE FLAN 

In order to indicate the type of development contemplated 
in Diamond Heights, a preliminary site plan has been prepared 
(see Plate 1). Since site planning studies are still in the 
very early stages, this prelimlnate plan is to be considered 
merely as suggestive oP one general scheme of development and 
as indicative of one possible approach to the application of 
modern planning principles to the area. If and when the Board 
of Supervisors designate the area as a Redevelopment Area, more 
thorough site planning studies will be undertaken, Including 
consultation with the many public agencies and private interests 
concerned. The tentative plan, to be presented for later con- 
sideration by the Board of Supervisors, may vary in many partic- 
ulars from the preliminary plan shown here. 

The main features of the plan include: 

1. A Canyon Drive on the east side of Glen Canyon 
connecting Portola Drive and Bosworth street, 
providing access to the new residential sections 
on the upper hillsides and hilltops to the east, 
and separating these sections from the proposed 
park in Glen Canyon. 

2. Other secondary thoroughfares, such as the extension 
of Diamond Street, to provide ready access to all 
parts of the city including nearby existing and 
proposed traffic arteries in the Mission District 
(Army Street widening to Clipper Extension and 
Mission Freeway) . 

3. Local streets with reasonable grades fitted to the 
steep hillsides and planned so as to discourage 
fast through traffic. 

4. Two new school sites to accommodate the child popu- 
lation in the area and to prevent overcrowding in 
nearby schools. 

5. Two small conveniently located shopping centers for 
neighborhood stores and businesses serving the fam- 
ilies in the area. 

6. Sites for a wide range of residential building types, 
many of them with superb views. 

Suggestions for the exact number and types of residential 
structures to be provided by large and small private builders 
will be made at a later date. It is contemplated, however, 
that the area would contain detached dwellings and row houses, 
both for sale and for rent. In addition, flats, garden apart- 
ments, step-down apartments and other types of multi-family 
buildings appear to be appropriate in certain sections. The 
extremely steep hillsides will require integrated planning of 
streets and dwellings in order to provide an attractive living 

IX 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 



LLGE.MD 

PARKS wo OPEN LAUD 
RESIDENCES 

nm stores 

■H SCUOOLS 

BUILDINGS TO BE MOVED 
iw.i BUILDINGS TO REMAIN 

100 CONTOUR LINES 
REDEVELOPMENT AREA BOUMDAt 




sc 



preliminary study 



THE DIAMOND HEIGHTS AREA 



environment. To take full advantage of the opportunities 
of the site, close cooperation will be required between 
expert site planners, architects, engineers, building con- 
tractors, investors and financing institutions. Such a 
cooperative approach is necessary in order to provide, at 
moderate cost, a community of pleasant, livable homes on 
a difficult site. 



PART I 
EXISTING CONDITIONS 



The Diamond Heights area, which is recommended for immed- 
iate designation as a redevelopment area, is in the center of 
San Francisco. Plate 2, a map of San Francisco, shows its 
location and its relation to the rest of the city. The pro- 
posed redevelopment area includes the chain of barren hills 
just southeast of the Twin Peaks, together with Glen Canyon 
at their western edge. Along the rim of Glen Canyon runs 
'Shaughnessy Boulevard forming the westerly boundary of the 
area. To the north is Clipper Street Extension and Douglass 
Playground. To the east lies Noe Valley, the fringe of the 
Inner Mission District. To the south are the Fairmount and 
Glen Park sections. 

Within these boundaries lie some 371 acres of hills 
and canyon, virtually vacant. 

Land Forms 

The Diamond Heights area comprises a chain of three 
hills and a canyon. The most northerly hilltop, called Red 
Rock Hill, has an elevation of 690 feet above sea level. 
South from this height, the land slopes sharply to a relative- 
ly level saddle, and then rises again to a summit, known as 
Gold Mine Hill, which is 680 feet above sea level. Southeasterly 
from Gold Mine Hill lies Fairmount Heights which rises to an el- 
evation of 5^0 feet. The lowest point in the area, approximate- 
ly 220 feet above sea level, is at the mouth of Glen Canyon at 
the edge of Glen Park Playground. 

The surface of the hills is barren, relieved by occasional 
outcroppings of rock. The canyon bottom has a grove of eucalyp- 
tus trees, is quite rugged, and is not far from its original 
"wilderness 1 ' state. It is a natural "greenbelt", or open space 
separating built-up districts. 

The hillsides slope so much that a special street layout 
needs to be designed for them. The land is so steep that an 
uncomprising gridiron system is entirely Inappropriate. Only 
15 per cent of the land has a slope of less than 10 per cent; 
18 per cent of the proposed redevelopment area has a slope of 
between 10 and 20 per cent; 30 per cent has a slope between 
20 and 30 per cent; and 37 per cent of the area has a slope of 
over 30 per cent. The significance of "per cent of slope'' can 
be illustrated by the fact that most cars must shift into low 
gear to get up a 20 per cent grade, and streets of 30 per cent 
grade are not built because cars could not get up them. There- 
fore, when a gridiron street system is designed to spread over 
hills like those in the Diamond Heights area, the result is 
that many streets are never built; if they were built, they 
could not be used. 

1. 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 




THE DIAMOND HEIGHTS AREA 





Existing Land Uses 

There are 371 -^ acres in the proposed redevelopment area. 
Of these, 28l acres are vacant. Only 31.7 acres are used for 
residence, 17.6 acres for parks, and 23.1 acres for paved 
streets. Table 1, on the following page, gives a detailed 
account of just how the land is used. 

Plate 3 shows in black the areas that are in use. Vacant 
or unused areas in blocks are left white. Those streets which 
have some type of paving are shown by solid parallel lines. 
Dashed parallel lines indicate unpaved streets. In most cases, 
these streets are not In existence except on paper. 

There are two truck storage yards in the center of the 
area. Both of these are illegal uses under the zoning code. 
Neither yard should be permitted to stay in the area, because 
of the dangers and unpleasantness of large trucks driving 
through residential areas. A radio transmitter is also locat- 
ed in the area. This use is legal. 



Table 1 
Summary of Land Uses 



Type of 

Land Use 




Area in 
Acres 


Percentage Dis 
Gross Area 


■ tribution of 
Net Area 


*1 Residence 

*2 Parks, Playgrounds 

*3 Industry 

*4 Utilities 

*5 Commerce 

*6 Vacant 


31.7 
17.6 

.7 

.2 

.1 

227.2 


8.5# 

4.7 

.2 

.0 

.0 

61.3 


11. ^S 

6.3 
.3 

.1 
.0 

81.9 


Total Net 


Area 


277-5 




100.0 


*7 Streets 




93.8 


25.3 





Total Gross Area 371.3 100.0 

Source : Computed from 1947 Land Use Maps and aerial maps in 
the files of the Department of City Planning, and 
field surveys. 



*1 Residence: in the 31.7 acres there are approximately 
450 houses. Of these 85$ are within 400 ' of the re- 
development area boundary. 

*2 Parks, Playgrounds: Glen Park - 7.9 acres, Douglass 
Playground - 9.7 acres. 

*3 Industry: 0.7 acres are used by two truck storage yards. 
These are illegal uses under the zoning code. 

*4 Utilities: 0.2 acres used for the transmitter of radio 
station KWBR-FM. 

*5 Commerce: There is one corner grocery store within the 
boundaries of the redevelopment area. 

*6 Vacant area: includes 25 blocks which are entirely un- 
subdivided, out of a total of 88 assessor's blocks wholly 
or partially within the boundaries of the proposed redev- 
elopment area. Most of the unsubdivided blocks lie in 
the canyon section or on the steeper hillsides. 

*7 Streets: Of the 93.8 acres in platted streets, 77-6 acres 
are in the area, and 16.2 acres are boundary streets. 
Of the 77.6 acres in the area, 11.6 acres are paved, and 
65.8 unpaved . 



Note : Of the gross area of 371.3 acres, 70. 7 acres are unpaved 
streets and 227.2 acres are vacant land. Considering 
these uses both as "unused" gives a total of 297.9 acres 
of unused land, or 80.2$ of the gross area. The area 
in economic use, therefore, is 73. 'J acres, or 19.8$ of 
the gross area of 371. j acres. 

The net area of the redevelopment area (that is, the 
total area except for streets) is 277.5 acres. Of this, 
227.2 acres or 81.9$ are vacant. There are 50.3 acres 
in economic use, or only lb.ljg of the net area of 277-5 
acres. 

3. 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 




THE DIAMOND HEIGHTS AREA 



IMPROVED PROPERTIES 




The figures in Table 1 deserve scrutiny. Of the 93.8 
acres in streets, 16.2 acres are boundary streets, leaving 
77.6 acres of streets within the area itself. Of these 77.6 
acres of streets, 70. 7 acres are unpaved. Of the unpaved 
streets, 35 per cent are dirt roads, and 65 per cent exist 
only on the subdivision maps. 

Of the 297-9 acres of vacant property, 227.2 acres are 
vacant land in the blocks, and 70-7 acres are in unpaved 
streets in the area. Most of this land is still barren 
hillside, completely unimproved and unused. As shown in 
Table 1, 81.9 per cent cf the net area-'- and 80.2 per cent 
of the gross area^ is vacant. These vacant areas do not 
include parks or playgrounds; 80.2 per cent vacant means 
that four-fifths of the land is entirely unimproved, that 
four-fifths of the land is not in "economic use." 

The 31-7 acres used for residence contain some 450 
dwellings. Of these, 85 per cent are in the fringe area, 
within 400 feet of the boundary line. Less than 70 dwell- 
ings are in the inner part of the area. Three-fifths of the 
houses were built before 1919, and four out of five were 
built before 1937.^ Thus, only one house out of five has been 
built in the past thirteen years. 

In land hungry, house hungry San Francisco very little 
other vacant land remains. It seems apparent, then, that the 
Diamond Heights area is one of "arrested development." 

Grades of Platted Streets 

The grades of the platted (designed on paper) streets 
are shown graphically on Plate 4. While not all the street 
grades are impractical, enough of them are so steep that they 
make circulation in the area difficult. 

A check on street grades shows that about 12 per cent of 
the streets as platted have a grade of over 30 per cent, 18 
per cent have grades between 20 and 30 per cent; 30 per cent of 
the streets have grades between 10 and 20 per cent, and the re- 
maining 40 per cent of the streets have a grade of less than 
10 per cent. As a general rule, no streets should be steeper 
than 20 per cent. But in the proposed redevelopment area, a 
total of 30 per cent of the platted streets have a grade of 
20 per cent or more. 



Net Area - does not include area for streets. 
^Gross area - total area within the boundaries, including streets. 

•^These figures come from a check of a 1919 Land Use map, aerial 
photographs taken in 1937 and 1948, now in the files of the 
Department of City Planning, and a field check made early in 1950, 

4. 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENC\ 




THE DIAMOND HEIGHTS AREA 



STREET GRADES 




Land Ownership 

Land ownership is shown in Plate 5* and is tabulated in 
Table 2. This table shows that the City and County of San 
Francisco owns 89.2 acres in the blocks in the proposed redevel- 
opment area, and 93.8 acres in streets. The area within the 
blocks is about one-third of all the net land area. Most of 
the city land is now held by the Public Utilities Commission. 
Originally acquired for a water storage reservoir, the land 
was never so used because arrangements for the storage of 
water were made elsewhere. When city ownership is expressed 
as including land both in the blocks and in the streets, the 
183.0 acres in these categories amount to 49.3 per cent of 
the gross area. 

Seven acres of the city property are in the Glen Park 
Playgrotind . Originally intended to serve just the neighbor- 
hood of Glen Park, this playground and adjoining canyon areas 
in public ownership are now used as a day camp for children 
from all over the city. The Recreation Commission has propos- 
ed acquiring the valley floor north of the playground as far as 
Valley Street for use as a day camp. This acquisition was part 
of the Master Plan for Youth bend program, approved by the 
voters in 1947. This land is now owned by the Public Utilities 
Commission and the San Francisco Housing Authority. 

The San Francisco Housing Authority owns some 29.4 acres 
on the bottom and on the east side of Glen Canyon, just above 
Glen Park. The Authority has proposed to use about 16 acres 
of this tract on the side of the canyon for a low-rent hous- 
ing project. However, the future use of this tract is uncert- 
ain since the City Planning Commission, on March 9, 1950, 
refused to approve a zoning change which would permit construct- 
ion of the project as originally designed. Should the project 
be redesigned to conform to the present zoning (R-l), it should 
be made to fit into the general redevelopment plan in terms of 
streets, building areas, provision of schools, stores, parks 
and playgrounds. Coordination of any housing development with 
the growth of the rest of the area would be greatly facilitated 
by the designation of Area B as a redevelopment area. 

The San Francisco Unified School District has indicated 
an intention to acquire some five and a half blocks of land 
lying between Gold Mine Hill and Red Rock Hill. This area 
is outlined in Plate 5. The School District proposes to 
bulla an elementary school here, as well as to provide a large 
enough site for future junior and senior high schools. The 
elementary school is in conformity with the Master Plan of 
the Department of City Planning; the precise locations for 
the other schools are subject to further study. The proposed 
redevelopment plans for the area will be so arranged that 
sites will be reserved for schools pending final determination 
of their location. 



5. 



Table 2 



Distribution of Land Ownershi p 



Owner 




Area in 
Acres 


Percentage Distribution of 
Gross Area Net Area 


City and County of S.F. 
S.P. Housing Authority 
Crocker Estate Co. 


89.2 
29.4 
21.3 


24.0% 
7.9 
5.7 




32.2% 

10.6 

7.7 


State of California 
Thomas Valerga 
Atlas Realty Co. 




12.0 
5.2 
3.8 


3.2 
1.4 

1.0 




4.3 
1.8 

1.4 


Fay Improvement Co. 
Rosenberg Bros. 
All others 




2.9 

2.9 

110.8 


0.8 

0.8 

29.9 




1.0 

1.0 

40.0 


Total Net Area 




277.5 






100.0 


Platted streets 




93.8 


25.3 







Total Gross Area 



371.3 



100.0 



Source: 1948-49 Tax Collector's rolls. 
Crocker Estate Company. 



Note: Public lands include 



Streets 

City property 

State property 

S.P. Housing Authority 



Percentage of 
Gross Area 


25 . 3% 

24.0 

3.2 

7.9 



Total 



60. 



6. 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 




THE DIAMOND HEIGHTS AREA 



PRINCIPAL LAND OWNERS 




The Crocker Estate Company owns about 21.3 acres at the 
top and on the southern side of Gold Mine Hill. Representa- 
tives of this Company have shown Interest in developing this 
property but the Agency has not been advised of any decisive 
steps toward this end. Such development should be keyed into 
the plan for the entire Redevelopment Area, in order to form 
a well planned community. 

The State of California holds tax-deeded title to 12.0 
acres (4.3 per cent of the net area) in the proposed redevel- 
opment area. This is property for which taxes have been delin- 
quent for five years or more, and which, therefore, may now be 
sold at public auction or transferred to the city. 

Thomas Valerga, a private developer, owns 5-2 acres, and 
is in the process of making large-scale cuts for new housing 
sites on Fairmount Hill. Atlas Realty Company, a subsidiary 
of Standard Building Company, owns 3.8 acres in scattered lots 
north of Gold Mine Hill. The Fay Improvement Company and Rosen- 
berg Brothers, both paving contractors, each own one block on 
Red Rock Hill, used as quarries. There are several hundred 
other small property owners in the area owning 110.8 acres, 
which is 40.0 per cent of the total net area, or 29.9 per cent 
of the gross area. 

Taxpaying and Non-taxpaying Property 

Plate 6 shows in white the lands that made a tax contribu- 
tion to San Francisco within the past five years. Some of the 
properties shown in white, however, have had tax delinquencies 
for shorter periods. The other lands, in black, have given no 
support to the city. Included in the non-taxpaying lands are: 

a) City owned vacant land 

bl Tax deeded lands 

c) Unpaved streets 

|d) San Francisco Housing Authority lands 1 

All streets with full paving are shown in white, on the assump- 
tion that they form an integral part of the residential neighbor- 
hoods they serve. Although Glen Park and Douglass Playground 
make no direct tax contribution, and are therefore shown in black, 
they support and enhance the value of private properties in the 
vicinity which are subject to taxes. 

The non-tax contributing areas make up 60.4 per cent of 
the total area. 



The San Francisco Housing Authority makes payments in lieu of 
taxes on its improved properties. It does not, however, make 
payments on vacant lands in its ownership. 



SAN FRANCISCO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY 



J I 1 1 I L 

r 



LEGEND 

SYM BOL 



— ■■»«« Redtvdopmtnt or«o boundary 
(eurvay mcludtt only r*d*v«lopm*nt ar«o) 



SOURCE- 1948-49 To« Collictor't rail! 
DATE- Jonuary, 1950 



_J I p_J_l S 

IP CO 




THE DIAMOND HEIGHTS AREA 



PUBLIC LANDS and 

UNIMPROVED STREETS 




PART II 

EARLY DEVELOPMENT AND ARRESTED GROWTH 

Early Subdivisions 

Early records show that part of the proposed Redevelop- 
ment Area was in the San Miguel Rancho. Later various -tracts 
in the vicinity were acquired by the Crocker interests, 
Leland Stanford and others. The original Crocker holding was 
166 acres and Leland Stanford held 5&9 acres. 

Large parts of the area were included in subdivision 
tracts recorded nearly a century ago. Horner's Addition to 
the Mission District, recorded in 1863, extended south to 
Thirtieth street and up the steep slopes to the summits of 
Gold Mine and Red Rock Hills. The Pairmount Tract, recorded 
in 1864, extended south from Thirtieth street and as far west 
as Castro street. Subdivision in the Glen Park district began 
as early as 1871 and some parts of the section have been sub- 
divided and re-subdivided several times. Stanford Heights, 
on both sides and in the upper part of Glen Canyon, was first 
recorded as a subdivision tract in 1891. 

In spite of the natural attractiveness of this part of 
the city, the sale of lots was slow and the hilltops never were 
built up. Developers endeavored through the years to sell their 
holdings to the public. In the Glen Park section, the sale of 
lots and building, activity was greatest immediately after the 
fire, in the early 1920' s, and in the present decade. The 
Crocker Estate Company's activity was largely in a series of 
small subdivisions recorded as Glen Park Terrace (1900 and 
1905), the Addition to Castro Street Addition (1910), and 
small portions of Glen Park Terrace (1912), and Addition to 
Thirtieth and Mission Street Extension (1913). The Company's 
big effort was in the period after the fire. Potential 
buyers were invited to make their homes among the pines in a 
veritable Switzerland. A real estate brochure of 1908 des- 
cribed Glen Park in glowing terms as the most beautiful resi- 
dence property in the city, with pines, acacias, and other 
plantings, a mild fog-free climate, and desirable neighbors. 
Sunday excursions and picnics were organized to the Company's 
private picnic area on the site of what is now Glen Park 
Playground. Lots were priced from $300 to $550 and higher 
on attractive terms. From 1921 to 1925 the Crocker Estate 
Company had another sales campaign which included the sale of 
houses built by them as well as the sale of the lots. From 
1925 to 1945 there was little activity. Since the war, the 
Company has sold about 100 lots to Thomas Valerga, but still 
retains 21 acres of unsubdivided land. 

Factors Retarding Development 

An important reason for the slowness of the area to 
develop has been that up until the present time more level 
land has been available elsewhere in the city. There was a 

8. 



choice between the hilly contours of the proposed redevelop- 
ment area and land in the Mission District, and later in the 
Sunset, Richmond, and Ingleside Districts, and in other parts 
of the city. The greater cost of building on steep hillsides, 
as well as the greater cost of putting in street, sewer, and 
water facilities, caused people to build in other areas. On 
the hilltops and in Stanford Heights no sewers were put in. 
Lots in the area had the typical dimensions of San Francisco 
lots. They were narrow and deep -- 25 or 26 feet wide by 114 
to as much as 178 feet deep. There were some triangular and 
wedge shaped lots. The steep slope of the lots affected ad- 
versely their attractiveness for mortgage loans. Subdivision 
in the area was premature in terms of the market for this 
hilly type of land. 

In the various Glen Park Terrace and Castro Street Addit- 
ions and in the Fairmount Tract an attempt was made to have 
streets follow the contours, but many streets go straight 
uphill, and in other subdivisions the gridiron is adhered to 
regardless of the grades. Many of the street installations 
were not complete; there was only rough grading in the early 
days. Streets were platted but never installed, especially 
on the tops of Fairmount Hill, Gold Mine Hill, Red Rock Hill, 
and in Stanford Heights. Some streets were platted to go 
up hill at 25, 30 and 35 per cent grades. Some of the streets 
were installed by companies under contract to real estate 
developers. It has been reported that, because of the slow 
sale of lots and the expense of installing streets, one comp- 
any forfeited a number of hillside lots to a street contractor 
in 1932. In some cases, owners of lots along unpaved streets 
organized and brought pressure to have the streets paved under 
public proceedings. In other cases, lot owners not intending 
to build immediately resisted pressures to improve streets in 
front of their properties, since they would be required to pay 
special assessments. 

Over the years, sporadic sales of small parcels have 
left the area divided among several hundred different owners. 
Some owners have clear title to their property; other parcels 
have encumbrances of various types. As already mentioned, the 
State of California holds tax-deed title to 12 acres comprising 
37 parcels. Taxes on these parcels have not been paid for at 
least five years. In addition, other parcels have been tax 
delinquent for shorter periods. In many cases, this situation 
is indicative not so much of financial inability of the owners 
to pay taxes as of a lack of interest on their part in retain- 
ing ownership of land which they do not intend to develop. 
Moreover, "tax-sold property" with excessive slopes or not 
fronting on improved streets is not attractive to buyers. 
Redevelopment will serve to clear clouded titles of tax de- 
linquent and other encumbered properties, as well as to as- 
semble the land so that well planned streets may be installed 
and attractive building sites offered for sale. 

Another factor indicating retarded development in the 
area is the absence of good public transportation. In the 
early days two street car lines and the cable car on Castro 

9. 



street served houses on the lower slopes. F:ve bus lines 
now give good service to Glen Park and the built up hill- 
side sections on the eastern side of the proposed redevel- 
opment area. However, the uphill walk after leaving public 
transit vehicles at the eni of the day has undoubtedly been 
a deterring factor to development of the higher slopes and 
hilltops. When a large scale building program takes place 
in the redevelopment area, it can be expected that adequate 
bus service will be provided. 

One other factor accounting for arrested development 
of the area has been the lack of a plan for its future. 
There has been no assurance to the possible settlers that 
there would be convenient schools or stores in the area. 
A plan is needed now to show where these "community facil- 
ities" should go; land for them should be reserved now, 
before it becomes built up and very expensive. A plan for 
the area should be made now to include the redesign of 
streets, the inclusion of schools, playgrounds, parks, and 
shopping centers. All of this is part of the redevelopment 
process. 



10, 



PART III 
THE REDEVELOPMENT PROCESS 



Redevelopment is the process by which the Redevelopment 
Agency assembles land in blighted areas, removes dilapidated 
and obsolescent structures, redesigns the areas to provide 
well planned communities, provides any necessary streets and 
utilities, and prepares the land for sale or lease to private 
enterprise for building. The Redevelopment Agency does no 
building itself. 

The Redevelopment Agency has been established to do only 
those things that private enterprise is unable to do. The 
Agency has been given the authority to assemble land, using 
the power of eminent domain when necessary. Furthermore, 
when the costs of acquiring blighted property are greater 
than the fair value for the land after any needed clearance 
and site preparation, the Agency may absorb such expense, with 
the aid of local and federal financial grants, before selling 
it back to private enterprise for rebuilding. In the case of 
an unbuilt area of arrested development such as Diamond 
Heights, however, it seems probable that redevelopment will 
favorably affect land values so that no local or federal 
grants will be needed. 

The law making it possible for local communities to 
undertake redevelopment is the California Community Redevel- 
opment Act of 1945, as amended in 1949. This act defines 
blight and sets up the machinery for its elimination within 
areas designated by the local governing body. 

The Community Redevelopment Act invites participation 
of present owners in the area as provided in the following 
section: 

•SEC 47. Every redevelopment plan shall provide 
for participation in the redevelopment of property in 
the project area by the owners of any or all such prop- 
erty if the owners shall agree to participate In such 
redevelopment in conformity with the redevelopment 
plan adopted by the legislative body for the area. 
This provision does not prohibit such owners from sub- 
mitting an alternative plan as provided in this act. 

Legal Designation of Area B as Blighted 

The definition of blight in the Community Redevelopment 
Act that applies in some cases to all of Area B, in other cases 
to parts of Area B is as follows: 

Sec. 2. It is hereby found and declared that there exist 
in many communities in this Ttate blighted areas which consti- 
tute either social or economic liabilities, or both, requiring 
redevelopment in the interest of health, safety, and general 
welfare of the people of the communities in which they exist 

11. 



and of the people of this state generally. These blighted 
areas are characterized by one or more of the following 
conditions : 

(a) (not applicable) 

(b) An economic dislocation, deterioration or disuse, 
as a result of faulty planning, the subdividing and the sale 
of lots of irregular form and shape and inadequate size for 
proper usefulness and development, the laying out of lots in 
disregard of the contours and other physical characteristics 
of the ground and surrounding conditions, or the existence 
of inadequate streets, open spaces and utilities, or of lots 
or other areas which are subject to being submerged by water. 

(c) A prevalence of depreciated values, impaired 
investments and social and economic maladjustment to such 
an extent that there exists a reduced capacity to pay taxes 
and consequent inadequacy of tax receipts in relation to the 
cost of public services rendered. 

(d) A growing and in some instances a total lack of 
proper utilization of areas, resulting in a stagnant and un- 
productive condition of land potentially useful and valuable 
for contributing to and serving the public health, safety 
and welfare; .. .(remainder not applicable) 

Referring to the parts of Section 2, of the Act, just 
quoted, Area B may be charactized as "blighted" for the follow- 
ing reasons : 

1. There exists in the area an "economic disuse". 
Vacant land, comprising 8l.9 per cent of the 
area, constitutes an economic disuse. This 
economic disuse is the result of: 

2. "faulty planning". This is decidedly evident 
from the street layout and from the lack of any 
provisions for future community facilities. 

3. "the subdividing and sale of lots of irregular 
form and shape and inadequate size for proper 
usefulness and development". In Area B, the 
major fault of the subdivision design has been 
the disregard of the topography. The size of 
lots, however, has not been well planned to 
meet the special needs of the hilly area, and 
the shape of some of the lots is awkward and 
impractical . 

4. "the laying out of lots in disregard of the 
contours and other physical characteristics of 
the ground and surrounding conditions". This, 
as described previously in this report, has been 
one of the major blighting influences in the area. 
The lots have been of the usual San Francisco 
pattern, or are e\ei longer than usual. Quite 
often, as a result, the rear lot line has been 

12 



fifty feet or more in elevation above the front 
lot line. Lot layout has ignored steep grades, 
outcropplngs of rocks, and cliffs. 

5. 'the existence of inadequate streets, open spaces 

ana utilities' . As noted previously in this report, 
the streets that have been platted are inadequate. 
Any street with a 30 per cent graue or more is un- 
questionably inadequate. Twelve per cent of the 
platted streets exceed this grade. The open spaces 
that now exist in the area other than Glen Park and 
Douglass Playgrounds, have no permanent status. If 
the area were built up as it is now platted, the 
open spaces would be inadequate. The major part 
of the area is not served by utilities of any kind. 
However, as there is no population in 81.9 per cent 
of the area, no judgment of adequacy of utilities can 
be made. 

6. "economic maladjustment to such an extent that there 
exists a reduced capacity to pay taxes. "As noted 
previously in this report, 12.0 acres of land in 
Area B have been tax delinquent for more than five 
years and tax deed titles have been taken by the 
State of California. In addition, tax delinquency 
for periods of less than five years has been found in 
other parts of the area. 

7. "lack of proper utilization of areas, resulting in 
stagnant and unproductive condition of land poten- 
tially useful and valuable." As noted previously, 
less than 20 per cent of the land is in "economic 
use, 1 ' although real estate subdivision started in 
the area in 1863 and most of the area was subdivided 
by I89I. Thus development in the area can be char- 
acterized as "arrested." 

In consideration of the seven specific points above, it 
is the finding of the Redevelopment Agency that Area B is a 
"blighted area," as defined in the Community Redevelopment 
Act of California. 

Boundaries of Area B 

The Community Redevelopment Act of California defines a 
redevelopment area as follows: 

Sec. 5. "Redevelopment area" means an area of a commun- 
ity which the legislative body thereof finds is a blighted 
area whose redevelopment is necessary to effectuate the public 
purposes declared in this act. A redevelopment area need not 
be restricted to, or consist entirely of, buildings, improve- 
ments, or lands which of themselves are detrimental or Inimical 
to the public health, safety or welfare, but may consist of an 
area in which such conditions predominate and injuriously affect 
the entire area. 

13. 



A redevelopment area may therefore include lands, buildings 
or improvements which of themselves are not detrimental to 
the public health, safety or welfare, but whose inclusion is 
found necessary for the effective redevelopment of the area 
of which they are a part. 1 ' 

Prom this definition, the Redevelopment Agency has est- 
ablished the boundaries of Area B to include an area whose 
planned redevelopment as a whole is necessary to effectuate 
the public purposes declared in the Community Redevelopment 
Act. Following is a point by point summary of how Area B 
qualifies as a reaevelopment area under the Act: 

(1) Blight does exist in the proposed redevelopment 
area as previously shown. 

(2) The boundaries of the proposed reaevelopment area 
have been drawn so that although some non-blighted 
properties are included, blight does predominate 
in the entire area. (81.9 per cent of the area is 
vacant, therefore 61.9 per cent of the area be 
classified as 'economically arrested,' or blighted) 

(3) The existence of a blightea arrested area does 
'injuriously affect" the adjacent area as explain- 
ed below. When an area is so poorly subdivided 
that builuing development is sparse ana uncertain, 
stores, schools, or transit will generally not be 
provided to serve that area. People living in 
scattered dwellings on the fringes of this vacant 
area need these community facilities, but frequently 
do not get them because they are unprofitable to 
install. Whereas fringe properties are often injuri- 
ously affected by arrested subuivisions, planned 
developments with a definite boundary known in ad- 
vance neeu not have this same blighting effect. 

For example, community facilities can be installed 
in residential areas next to large permanent open 
spaces such as the Golaen Gate Park, when the number 
of homes to be built within a few years can be esti- 
mated with reasonable accuracy. 

(4) Although many non-blighted structures are included 
in the proposed redevelopment area, the boundaries 
of the area must be drawn to include all properties 
which may be directly affected or which form part 
of the area necessary for adequate replanning. 
Staff personnel has made careful field checks of 
the entire boundary area to examine the relation- 
ship of each piece of property to the proposed 
redevelopment area as a whole, and has recommended 
inclusion only of those properties which would 
clearly be affected by redevelopment. Not all 
properties included in the redevelopment area will 
be acquired by the Agency, as explained more fully 
in the next section. 



14, 



The foregoing points serve to establish the finding that 
Area B meets the legal and technical qualifications for a re- 
development area. The Redevelopment Agency recommends that 
the Board of Supervisors designate this area as a redevelop- 
ment area in order to carry out the public purposes of the 
Community Redevelopment Act. 

Project Plans 

After such designation, the Agency and the Department of 
City Planning, cooperatively, according to the provisions of 
Article 7 of the Act, will prepare preliminary ana tentative 
project plans for the entire area or for one or more select- 
ed portions of the area. These project plans will be based 
on a careful analysis of the need and market for housing of 
various types in San Francisco, the particular conditions of 
the site ana of adjoining sections, and the needs and desires 
of owners of property in the area. 

In all probability, only a few of the existing struct- 
ures will neea to be removed. Nevertheless any buildings 
of shoddy construction, dilapidation, inappropriate use or 
other blighting characteristics injurious to existing and 
new homes in the area will be eliminatea. In addition, there 
may be a very few structures that must be eliminated because 
they interfere with necessary elements in the site plan, such 
as streets or schools. In some cases, such buildings may be 
moved to other sites. Not until final redevelopment plans 
are adopted will it be known definitely how each piece of 
property will be affected. And not until final redevelopment 
plans are accepted by the Board of Supervisors can the Redevel- 
opment Agency purchase property. 

Before any redevelopment plan is adopted it must be re- 
viewed and approved at several stages by the Planning Commiss- 
ion and by the Board of Supervisors. Public hearings must be 
held at least two times, and more often if necessary. Proper- 
ty owners and citizens will be kept informed of the plans and 
actions in redevelopment, and may express their opinions at 
the public hearings, or directly to the Redevelopment Agency 
at 100 Larkin Street. 

Financial Considerations 

No detailed financial analyses of the area have been made, 
However, from the general inspection of the area, and noting 
its possibilities as a future neighborhood, it appears that, 
in this case, redevelopment would pay for itself. In other 
words, the amount invested in the area in the redevelopment 
process would be returned to the city as private enterprise 
takes over the property again. It may be that the project 
might yield a small net gain which would be returned to the 
Redevelopment Revolv. ing Fund to help finance projects in 
other parts of the city. 



15. 



Furthermore, all properties, when resold to private 
builders, will be returned to the tax rolls. Not only 
will the value of the land be enhanced by the redevelop- 
ment process, but also the new structures to be built will 
add several million dollars of assessables. These additions 
to the assessed valuations of the city will bring additional 
revenues into the public treasury for many years to come. 

In order to finance the operations of the Redevelopment 
Agency during the redevelopment period, it will be necessary 
to secure advances and temporary loans for completing plans, 
acquiring property, and preparing the land for rebuilding, 
including street and utility improvements. Some of such 
improvement, however, may be installed according to the 
project plan, after resale to the private developers, rather 
than being paid for by the Agency. It is hoped that the fed- 
eral financial assistance, available under the U. S. Housing 
Act of 19^9* will be sufficient to cover all necessary finan- 
cing for redeveloping Area B, including planning advances and 
temporary loans. Should adequate federal funds not be avail- 
able, the Agency is empowered to issue its own revenue bonds 
to be secured by the redevelopment properties and their ulti- 
mate resale values. When all the land is disposed of to pri- 
vate builders and to public agencies for parks and schools, 
it is expected that the funds so derived will be sufficient 
to liquidate all advances, temporary loans or other project 
financing. 



16, 



PART IV 

THE CONTRIBUTION OF REDEVELOPMENT IN DIAMOND HEIGHTS 
TO SAN FRANCISCO 

Proposed redevelopment in Area B would bring many ad- 
vantages to the city as a whole. Increased tax revenues have 
already been mentioned. In addition, many new attractive 
homes together with parks, playgrounds, schools and shopping 
facilities would be provided to form new up-to-date neighbor- 
hoods of which San Francisco could be justly proud. These 
and other advantages are described in more detail below. 

Parks for City-wide Use 

The proposed plan for redevelopment would keep Glen 
Canyon Itself in its present rugged natural state for recreat- 
ion needs of San Francisco children and adults as well. Glen 
Canyon is very well suited and situated as a place where city 
children can spend a whole day in country-like surroundings. 
The view of the open canyon would be an attractive feature of 
the homes to be built on the western slopes of the hills. 

Furthermore, the area would contain other parks and play- 
grounds, some of them in connection with new school sites, 
others on the hilltops affording sweeping views of the city, 
the Bay and the East Bay hills. 

New Homes 

By bringing Diamond Heights into a well-conceived use, 
San Francisco would gain more housing. These new homes 
would be conveniently located in the center of the city. 
It would mean that more people who work in San Francisco 
could live here too, instead of in one of the mushrooming 
suburbs. 

The hills above the canyon would have some 2,5G0 to 
3,000 new homes built on them, as part of new, well planned 
neighborhoods. Opportunities to build these homes, some for 
sale, others for rent, would be made available to private 
builders cf various types, including those who might wish to 
build several hundred dwellings, and those who desired to 
operate on a much smaller scale. The majority cf the dwell- 
ings would be in the cost or rental range of moderate income 
families, although the ultimate development may include some 
luxury type dwellings, and perhaps some low rent public hous- 
ing. 

According to present plans, many types of new dwellings 
would be buil*t, each type in the appropriate place. For in- 
stance, the pleasant home-like character of Glen Park could 
be continued in the new development where it merges with the 
now built-up section. The hillside houses overlooking Mission 
Valley, with their old trees and their well laid-out gardens, 



17. 



would have neighbors that also have trees ana gardens. There 
would be no sudden break in the character of the neighborhood 
as one passes into the redeveloped, area; the new homes would 
harmonize with those already built. In this way, present 
real estate values would be enhanced by good development, 
rather than blighted by arrested development. 

In the heart of the redevelopment area the new homes 
would have spectacular sites, with sweeping views from Twin 
Peaks and Fisherman's Wharf around to Hunter's Point and the 
rugged San Bruno mountains. The new buildings should be 
scientifically oriented to get plenty of sun and little wind. 
The climate of the area is one of San Francisco's best, with 
little fog. Thus, contemporary indoor-outdoor living would 
be possible and enjoyable. 

Streets 

The new homes would be on quiet streets which lead to 
neighborhood schools and shopping centers, and then, on wide 
access streets skirting the natural contours, to present or 
proposed expressways that connect with the rest of the city. 
A new road will skirt the eastern edge of the canyon, and 
connect the contour streets of the new development with 
Porto] a Drive and Clipper Street Extension at the north, and, 
via Elk, Bosworth and Diamond Streets, with Monterey, San Jose 
and Bernal Avenues and the proposed Mission Freeway at the 
south. Wide streets would connect other parts of the area 
with the Mission District, and with Glen Park. Great care 
would be taken to see that the steep, winding and narrow 
streets of Glen Park are not overtaxed. The proposed exten- 
sion of widened Army street to connect with the Clipper 
Street Extension would tend to divert traffic from Area B 
bound for downtown San Francisco off crowded Portola Drive 
and onto the Bayshore and proposed Mission Freeways. All 
the surrounding areas would b^n^f It by the improved traffic 
circulation made possible by the new streets. 

Schools 

It is foreseen that two new elementary' schools would 
be needed to take care of tne children of the new population 
and to prevent overcrowding in nearby schools. These will be 
located conveniently for all children in the area, and for 
children living near the redevelopment area who may use them. 

In addition, the redevelopment plan would provide space 
for possible junior and senior high schools to serve larger 
sections of the city. This land would be held for such poss- 
ible use pending final determinations as to their locations 
in the area or elsewhere. If these sites were not needed 
for high schools, they could be developed for residences. 



18. 



Shopping 

New neighborhood shopping centers would also be needed. The 
stores would have enough off-street parking space around them, 
and would be located so that most housewives could walk to 
them for their daily shopping. In addition to providing new 
business opportunities in the area's local shopping centers, 
the buying power of the new residents would serve to increase 
the sales of merchants in Glen Park, along Twenty-fourth street, 
in other parts of the Mission District, and elsewhere in San 
Francisco. 

Flanning and Redevelopment 

One of the greatest advantages that redevelopment can 
bring in the growth of San Francisco is a working example 
of good planning. For land that is now poorly planned, 
such as that in Diamond Heights, that is extremely important. 
It would be unfortunate to encourage building in the area as 
it is now designed; this would establish permanent conditions 
leading to blight in what is potentially one of the best areas 
of San Francisco. Action is needed now to make sure that any 
building in the area will be good building, done as a part of 
good design for a good neighborhood. Appropriate restrictions 
on land sold to private developers would aid in accomplishing 
this result. 

Redevelopment in Diamond Heights could also become an 
excellent demonstration of the redevelopment program and 
its benefits. The public would see that the Redevelopment 
Agency does no building, that redevelopment can open up 
"frozen 1 ' areas to private enterprise, and that redevelopment 
is good development, designed to fit into the Master Plan of 
the city. The public would see the profitable and effective 
results of the cooperation of public and private enterprise. 

Relation of Redevelopment in Diamond Heights and in the 
Jefferson Square neighborhood 

San Francisco, like other American cities, has directed 
most of its redevelopment activities toward closely-built, 
run-down residential areas. It has recognized that the 
rebuilding of those blightea areas is of primary importance 
to San Francisco in order to eliminate unsafe and unsanitary 
dwellings and to provide new opportunities for private build- 
ing near the heart of the city. 

However, rebuilding of the congested residential areas, 
such as the Jefferson Square neighborhood of the Western 
Addition, cannot be undertaken until the residents of the 
area have other places in which to live. This is one of the 
specific requirements of the Community Redevelopment Act 
(Section 68), and of the United States Housing Act of 19^9, 
as a prerequisite to federal assistance. Therefore, the 
housing shortage in San Francisco must be eased in order 



19. 



to create a generally looser housing market in which sub- 
stitute dwellings can be found for displaced families. 

The only apparent practical method of substantially 
easing the housing shortage is to build more houses. The 
principal remaining places to build in San Francisco are 
in the "arrested areas." In opening up Diamond Heights, 
sites for many new houses can be made available. Although 
only a small portion of those residing in the Jefferson 
Square area can afford new private housing, any increase 
in supply will affect the general housing market. 

As families who can afford new housing move into it, 
they move out of other dwellings throughout the city. 
Other families move into the vacancies so created, produc- 
ing still other vacancies at various rentals for those 
whose incomes do not permit them to buy or rent new hous- 
ing. Such vacancies will thus aid in solving the rehous- 
ing problem of the present Jefferson Square residents. 

It is therefore the opinion of the Redevelopment 
Agency that redevelopment in Jefferson Square and other 
built up area can be carried out more rapidly if redevelop- 
ment in Diamond Heights is pressed to completion as prompt- 
ly as possible. 



20, 



:ti 



iff IX h 



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'It ... I 



PART V 

AN APPROACH TO SITE PLANNING 

A first step toward an understanding of the reasons for 
the proposed redevelopment in Diamond Heights is the creation 
of a mental image of what the area will look like in terms of 
urban features - such as streets, houses, schools, parks, 
views, and the like - after development has taken place. 
Towara this end one might imagine Miraloma Heights or Golden 
Gate Heights as they appeared twenty-five years ago prior to 
the re-platting of the street system and compare them with 
what has been built since; contour streets of easy gradient, 
parks and school sites set aside at appropriate locations 
and homes with maximum view and livability. 

However, in visualizing Diamond Heights after the prop- 
osed redevelopment has been completed, we must be reminded 
that times have changed and planning concepts have advanced 
considerably. We may now look toward an even more complete 
job of neighborhood reconstruction based on the most up-to- 
date principles of community design. Some of these are: 

1. A street system distributing through traffic around 
rather than within the area. 

2. Development of neighborhoods as self-contained as 
may be feasible and desirable. 

3. Integration into the surrounding present develop- 
ment where appropriate . 

4. Provision of a full range of dwelling types - 
including homes, row houses, and garden or possibly 
elevator apartments. 

5. Provision of space for all needed neighborhood 
facilities - schools, playgrounds, parks, shopping 
centers, churches and the like. 

6. Proper access by major thoroughfares to all parts 
of the city. 

What, then, are the potentialities of the area in terms of 
development along the lines of the modern concepts of city 
planning? 

First, let us examine the street pattern of the redevel- 
opment area as it could be laid out under the proposed plan. 
(See Plate 1.) The most striking feature and the key access 
road will be the Canyon Drive along the east side of Glen 
Canyon connecting Bosworth street and Portola Drive. This 
perimeter arive bounding the entire proposed residential 
section on the west will serve as a major feeder street to 



21 



the remainder of the street system. Clipper street will 
serve this purpose on the north, and Douglass and Diamond 
streets extended will do so on the east side of the area. 
This system of major circulation will discourage traffic from 
passing through the quiet residential neighborhoods of Glen 
Park and the upper Mission District. Secondary feeder streets 
within the Diamond Heights area will connect all parts of the 
residential neighborhood to the shopping centers, schools, 
playgrounds and parks. The more important streets will be 
wide and generous; the minor streets will be of minimum width 
and will not induce through traffic. 

Centers for community life in the redevelopment area will 
be conveniently located schools, shopping areas and possibly 
churches, clubs or other neighborhood organizations, for which 
sites will be reserved. The two school sites will be of suf- 
ficient size for school buildings and playgrounds to serve the 
children of the new population, and to relieve overloading of 
nearby schools. The two small neighborhood shopping centers 
will nave ample off-street parking space, and will be adequate 
to provide the daily household needs to those housewives who 
live nearby, but will not detract from the community shopping 
trade of Twenty-fourth street and Glen Park. 

According to the plan, all of the land in Glen Canyon 
lying below the proposed Canyon Drive will be reserved in its 
present rugged state to be used for appropriate public re- 
creation purposes, including the Day Camp available to child- 
ren from all over the city. The present Glen Park Playground 
will be used by children of the Glen Park area and certain 
nearby portions of the redevelopment area. Douglass Playground 
in the northeastern corner of the redevelopment area will 
attract children from the nearby sections. Additional play- 
ground facilities will be made available adjacent to the new 
schools. Placed on hilltops in the new neighborhood design 
will be small parks designed primarily as outlook points 
above the city, and for recreation spots for small children 
and their parents. 

A wide range of dwelling types is proposed to conform 
with building sites and housing needs and markets. It is 
contemplated that the design of these homes will be in keep- 
ing with the Western tradition of comfort and contemporary 
architectural style. The buildings will include those types 
which have proven to be the most popular and successful in 
San Francisco along with certain new types of buildings well 
suited to the rolling hills. On the steeper slopes the typical 
San Francisco row house will be adapted to the hills in the 
form of step-down apartments. This recently developed dwell- 
ing type takes advantage of steep hills and permits views on 
three sides of the house, in addition to the open space made 
available through use of the roof of the downhill unit as a 
porch. The new buildings in the redevelopment area should he 
designed to merge with the buildings existing on the fringes 
of the area. There will be no sharp line indicating where 
redevelopment begins and ends. There will be no difference 
between the general appearance of the new and the old build- 

22. 



ings; however, the new neighborhoods will have planned- 
in-advance facilities that are often left out of areas 
that "just grow." These can be achieved by a well thought 
out design for the area. 

This redevelopment area can be a working example of 
the advantages of contemporary western design as applied 
to entire neighborhoods. 



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